The first reviews for David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller Gone Girl are in, and so far the reaction is meeting the hype. The film is coming out on October 3rd and should basically kick off Oscar season, and if the trades’ reviews are any indication, it’ll make money and generate awards buzz for its lead actors. The biggest takeaways: Ben Affleck, playing a bit of a cypher of a character, is getting the kind of raves you want for a Best Actor contender; lead actress Rosamund Pike has met the promise she’s always shown in her long career in supporting roles; and the ending of the book, which some thought would be altered by Fincher and Flynn for the movie, is basically the same.
Justin Chang of Variety called it “surgically precise, grimly funny and entirely mesmerizing” despite the 149-minute running time, and called Affleck’s work “outstanding” and Rosamund Pike’s “revelatory.” Noting its surface similarity to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo—a long, dark, R-rated adaptation of a popular book—Chang predicted Gone Girl would have an easier time with audiences and awards bodies, saying it “registers more than just a technically immaculate, dramatically superfluous exercise in style.” While praising Affleck, Chang gave the movie to Pike, calling it “a thrill to watch her fully embrace the showiest, most substantial role of her career.”
Todd McCarthy at the Hollywood Reporter was slightly less effusive, saying the film fell short of Fincher’s best work but succeeded as an effective adaptation of an entertaining book. Affleck, who has never been nominated for an acting Oscar, gives the best work of his career as under-suspicion husband Nick Dunne, McCarthy raved. “Affleck, who has never been more ideally cast, delivers a beautiful balancing act of a performance, fostering both sympathy and the suspicion that his true self lies somewhere between shallow jerk and heartless murderer.”
The Brit reviewers were largely positive too: Robbie Collin in The Telegraph praised it as a "neo-noir thriller turned on its blood-spattered head” and Geoffrey McNab in The Independent gave it five stars and called it an “immensely slippery, deceptive affair.”